Jayabaya – Java’s Seer King and His Predictions

by Sankalan Baidya

Jayabaya was the King in Java who lived some 400 years before Nostradamus came to existence. He was a Hindu King. What makes him popular in history are his prophecies. He made some predictions about Java’s future. King Ramalan Jayabaya is still very popular in Java. Why so? Because most people think his predictions (most of them) have become true.

About King Jayabaya

King Ramalan Jayabaya rule Java’s Kediri or Kadiri Kingdom from the year 1135 to 1157. The Chronicles of Java or Babad Tanah Jawi as well as Serat Aji Pamasa provide written records of the king.

Like many other kings of his time or before, he took the path of associating himself with a deity. The only reason for this was to ensure the people take him as legitimate king.

According to various sources, King Jayabaya’s great-great grandfather was Lord Brahma – the Hindu god of creation. Many other sources say Lord Vishnu himself incarnated as Jayabaya.

Interestingly however, Jayabaya’s father, Gendrayana had something different to claim. He claimed to be a direct descendent of Arjuna. Arjuna was the 3rd brother of the Pandavas in Hindu epic Mahabharata. Arjuna was also the son of Lord Indra.

Also Read: 25 Interesting Kuru Kingdom Facts

Because of this lineage or perhaps because he descended from Lord Brahma or perhaps was Lord Vishnu’s incarnation, it was believed that Jayabaya had magical talents. It was believed that he could see far back into the past or far deep into the future.

King Jayabaya was also a great patron of literature. During his rule he commissioned two poets named Empu Panuluh and Empu Sedah. Empu is Javanese for saint. The two poets wrote Kitab Bharatayudh. It was a book that retold the epic Mahabharata and was written in 1157. No wonder, Kitab Bharatayudh mentions King Jayabaya as Empu Panuluh and Sedah’s patron in the prologue.

Ramalan Jayabaya himself wrote a few books. These books were about prophecies. Two such books are: Serat Pranitiwakya and Serat Jayabaya. Other books written by the King are also available.

Sacred Pilgrimage – Jayabaya’s Resting Place

When King Jayabaya became old he went to a village known as Menang. Menang is located in Kediri-Regency’s sub-district. There, the King adopted a meditative life and spent his last days there. Today, the village is a pilgrimage site for people of Java. It is said that first President Sukarno and the second President Suharto meditated in the same village. The reason for their meditation was to get the kingly legitimacy and also to get Jayabaya’s blessings.

Prophecies by King Jayabaya

We have all heard of prophecies of Nostradamus. Some said he was fake. Some said he was insane. Some other said he was Devil’s servant. Some elite people believed that Nostradamus’ predictions were inspired by spirituality.

This was not the case with King Jayabaya. Because he was a King and because it associated himself with a deity, people easily believed his predictions.

Jayabaya’s one of the most famous predictions were that white men will arrive. They will carry weapons that could kill people from a distance. He also predicted that these white men will capture and rule Java for a very long time. His further prediction was that from North will come yellow-skinned men to defeat the white men. These yellow-skinned men, according to Jayabaya will capture Java for a corn-stalk’s lifetime.

These prophecies of Jayabaya became true. The Dutch arrived with guns and conquered Java and ruled it for 300 years. Then in 1942, the Japanese came and defeated the Dutch. The Japanese occupation lasted till 1945. When the Japanese came, the Indonesians were happy because, the 800-year old prediction became true. Indonesia earned her independence in August 1945 – three and a half years after first Japanese occupation.

More Predictions by Jayabaya

According to Jayabaya, modern Indonesia’s leadership will be Notonegoro. Notonegoro in English means a country’s administrator. But as you can see, ‘a country’s administrator’ is a very loose term. Notonegoro doesn’t refer to a king with absolute power. One of the interpretations put forward to explain such loose usage of words is that the administrator will be answerable to people.

Some other people too tried to give alternative explanation. They said that Notonegoro is a word derived by putting together last syllables of the names of Indonesian Presidents. This was not right despite the fact that the first two presidents had names with last syllables which make up the first two syllables of the word.

Pay attention: First President’s name was Sukarno and the second President’s name was Suharto. Combine the last syllables of these two names and you get Noto, which makes the first two syllables of Notonegoro. What about the rest?

The third President was BJ Habibie and the fourth was Abdurrahman Wahid. They didn’t have the required syllables and hence, this explanation ended.

Alternative Explanation to Prediction of Jayabaya

More detailed explanations based on syllables surfaced. People said only greatest presidents of Indonesia will have corresponding syllables. So, third and fourth presidents weren’t greatest of presidents.

This alternative explanation said that NE in Notonegoro will mean ‘from outside’. It was true. The third president was not a Javanese, i.e. he was not from Java. The final part GORO of the word Notonegoro comes from goro-goro which means riots and conflicts. As a matter of fact, there were riots and conflicts at the time of fourth and fifth presidents. The fifth President of Indonesia was Megawati Soekarnoputri.

The sixth President was Yodhoyono. This brings us back to the beginning of the word Notonegoro. The sixth president was indeed great. This can mean two things:

  • The cycle of good-good-outside-bad-bad-good-good-outside-bad-bad [No (good) to (good) ne (outside) goro (bad-bad)] will keep cycling.
  • Or, only when all presidents turn out to be good, the last syllables of their names will make up the entire word Notonegoro.

Most Awaited Prediction of Jayabaya – Arrival of Great Leader

The most awaited prediction of Jayabaya is rise of Ratu Adil. Ratu Adil means king or queen of justice. Javanese think Ratu Adil will be king and not queen. According to that prediction, Ratu Adil will be of royal lineage and belong to ancient Majapahit kingdom.

According to Jayabaya, Ratu Adil will be Java’s greatest leader ever. Not just Java’s, Ratu Adil is destined to become world’s greatest leader ever.

Precisely when will Ratu Adil rise? According to the prophecy, that will happen when ships will sail through sky and iron wagons can run without being pulled by horses. This simply means in the era of cars and airplanes.

Jayabaya predicted that Ratu Adil will have a tormenting life in the beginning. Poverty, humiliation and other hindrances will plague Ratu Adil’s life. But he or she will overcome all those with a steady heart and sincerity. The King or the Queen’s birth will take place in dark ages (now) and will grow up to bring justice and peace to this world.

The Javanese system of belief has a cyclical pattern. It starts with prosperity and happiness and then ushers into darkness to finally emerge back into light and prosperity. As of now, it is age of craziness and darkness (Jaman Edan) and the time of light and prosperity and happiness is on its way.

So, do you think, Jayabaya’s prophecy will become true?

Are you interested in learning about some of his prophecies? If you are interested, click here.

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4

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1 comment

Budi February 11, 2017 - 5:55 pm

Hi, I just want to rectify. Ramalan is not part of his name. Ramalan is just a word, it means prophecy (or prediction).


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